Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: A rebuilding year

Dec. 29, 2012 @ 06:58 PM

There’s a phrase college football fans tend to say when the season’s not going so well. “It’s a rebuilding year.” We say this so often with a smile, knowing that we’re just making an excuse, giving the team a pass because we’re all-weather fans. It’s a year of shoring up the reserves, of training the new recruits, of getting secure footing for the next win. Of learning from losses and focusing on the next game, because we can’t change what’s already happened.

What we can do is look forward. Here comes 2013, with all its promise, all its hope, all its unknowns. Known unknowns and unknown unknowns, to quote my Donald Rumsfeld action figure (yes, I have one).

There’s something about the freshness of a “next.” The assumption of a “next.” It’s what we do when we keep driving even though our headlights only shine a few yards ahead. We have reason enough to believe there will be a next section of road, so we keep going into the dark, illuminating what we need as we progress.

As I entered Duke Chapel on Christmas Eve for the children’s service, my son’s hand clutched in mine, he was given the choice of angel or shepherd attire, choosing the latter, and happily wore the head covering during the service. “Do I get to keep it?” he asked. No, I said, they need them back for next year. “Can we come next year?” he asked. Always assume there’s an opportunity next year.

Next year.

I’d like to say 2012 was the rebuilding year, and 2013 will be the buoyant one, but recent history shows that 2012 was the tearing-down year. Natural disasters and major gun violence at home. Wars abroad. Atrocities to humanity. The rebuilding year starts New Year’s Day 2013.

I saw “The Hobbit” this past week, so I’ll impart some wisdom from Gandalf: “Evil is always looking for a foothold.”

My mind turned the quote over in the film, giving me respite from the nasty visuals of the villains on screen, as I thought about evil as perennially looking for a way to stay. It’s our job to trip it up and knock it down. It thrives only when we let it. The rebuilding year that we face is one of shoring up goodwill, of continuing the progress, of multiplying hope and of fighting the good fight. And preferably not higher taxes.

New Year’s Day is a wonderful holiday that requires no shopping, no traveling, no houseguests, not anything except relaxing. Maybe a walk – taking steps toward the future. Happy 2013! May it be the best year yet.


Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan may be reached at: dvaughan@heraldsun.com or 919-419-6563.